Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 11
“We are willing to return home flying the national flag as well as putting up posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on our tractors if the government repeals the contentious farm laws,” said BKU (Kadian) president Harmeet Singh Kadian while talking to The Tribune today.
Not repealing the laws appears to be an ego issue with the PM and Home Minister Amit Shah, Kadian said while responding to a question on the deadlock.
Not just Kadian, a number of farm leaders are firm about their demand for the withdrawal of the new laws. They fear that corporates will ultimately take control of the pricing mechanism and subsequently their land. The farmers are also not ready to accept the MSP “lollipop” because at “present too the government is paying MSP only on two or three of the 23 listed crops”.
President of the BKU (Ekta Sidhupur) Jagjit Singh Dalewal said: “The entry of corporates in the fields of education, health and transport has affected the government set-ups. The same will happen to agriculture. History shows that budget planning by the corporates allows them to bear losses for a few years. Initially, they will lure farmers with more money, leading to closure of government mandis. Finally, corporates will be controlling the price.”
Voicing similar apprehensions, BKU (Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said: “Agreeing to government amendments would have been akin to allowing the neck of the corporate camel inside the tent of farmers. If not stonewalled now, this will render farmers homeless.”
The trust deficit between the unions and the Centre doesn’t appear to have lessened after the recent proposal sent out by the latter. “Whether we were being administered 100% pure poison of the farm laws or whether it is being diluted by 50%, it will still be poison. Allowing our cases in civil courts means nothing to us because a common farmer does not have enough resources to fight the corporates,” said Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher.
“Ideally speaking, the government needs to withdraw the contentious farm laws for at least two years. Before bringing any change, the farmers need to be engaged in discussions,” he added.
Vice-president of the Kirti Kisan Union Rajinder Singh Deep Singh Wala said the farmers were mainly protesting because agriculture was a state subject. “Why is the Centre thrusting the laws upon farmers? At this juncture we feel that even if the government makes amendments to the farm laws, it could backtrack and re-amend them after we call off our agitation.”
“We are also finding it strange that the government that has not heard us for the past several months, agreed to make amendments within 10 days of our reaching the Delhi border,” Kadian said.